SAS: Who Dares Wins is the toughest show on telly and its recruitment process is equally brutal.
Long-serving show star, military veteran Ollie Ollerton and co-star Jay Morton have been axed.
Show insiders say the decision could be down to a new diversity drive from Channel 4 bosses who want the ethnic backgrounds of the Directing Staff (DS) to mirror that of the participants, which are far more varied.
A source said: “The show can’t be faulted for showing diversity within its recruits but the DSs are all white men of similar age.
“It’s likely this will be rectified in the new series.”
Former Special Forces officer Ollie, in the show since its 2015 inception, is now Down Under filming SAS: Who Dares Wins Australia.
It is thought Ollie will use his break from the British version to focus on his new fitness app, Battle Ready 360.
Jay joined the latest civilian series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, initially working undercover for the DS, before joining them for the rest of both the civilian and celebrity shows. But Ollie’s axing will be the biggest shock to fans.
Last month the show’s chief instructor Ant Middleton, was embroiled in a race row after he called Black Lives Matter protesters “absolute scum” in a now-deleted tweet he later apologised for.
Clearly Channel 4 has stuck by him as he remains on the series.
A spokeswoman said: “Ollie has made an exceptional contribution to SAS: Who Dares Wins and the expertise and experience he brought to the DS team has been much valued.
“We wish him great success with his future projects.”
Regarding his replacement, she added: “We will be announcing the new line-up in due course.”
READ ON FOR MORE OF ANDY HALLS' BIZARRE TV COLUMN
By the Brooke
THE Voice semi-finalist Brooke Scullion can’t wait to take to the stage on the ITV show when filming resumes this autumn after Covid put the blocks on it in the spring.
Brooke said: “I keep dreaming about the semi-final and being able to finally go out on the Live stage and perform.
“I have so many ideas of what I want to do – I want a big production, something that’s going to be so fun to watch and exciting to perform.”
Less is Maur
AFTER spending most of her time in a bikini on last year’s Love Island, Maura Higgins knows flashing the flesh is the best way to cool down.
And she certainly stayed true to that mantra as she stepped out in Essex to enjoy Britain’s unusually sweltering heat over the weekend.
I just hope she isn’t expecting it to stay as sweltering as it was in the Majorcan villa – she’ll probably need a raincoat and wellies a few days from now.
THE BBC has defended featuring two young women kissing on CBBC show The Next Step, after getting complaints.
A spokesman said: “This is an important part of our mission to make sure every child feels like they belong.”
Davids' haul of nature
TWO of Britain’s best-known Davids are teaming up in an unlikely TV union.
The BBC1 show, set to air this summer, looks back at the most breathtaking moments from the landmark nature series Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II.
It features the Brit winner on piano with the BBC Concert Orchestra as they perform a soundtrack composed by the legendary Hans Zimmer.
Dave said: “I’ve always been a fan of powerful natural history documentaries.
“This is a programme where nature and music come together, so it was only right that I lent my talent, my time and my attention to this project.”
I’m sure the results will be spectacular.
WHAT? The Deceived, Channel 5, 9pm.
WHY? The newly formed army of fans of Normal People’s Paul Mescal will be thrilled to see him star in this psychological thriller which begins with an affair at Cambridge University.
Bake Off doughs it alone
AFTER concerns as to whether Channel 4 bosses would get The Great British Bake Off on air this year, they are now going to extreme lengths to ensure exactly that.
I’m told the show’s stars – judges Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood and hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas – have had to self-isolate together to ensure they are fit to film.
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It means that for a fortnight before cameras started rolling at the new location in Essex – instead of the usual leafy Berkshire – they have been living in each other’s pockets.
Producers’ greatest concern is Prue who, at 80, is in one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to contracting the virus.
A source said: “Covid-19 has hit the entire TV industry hard, so Channel 4 and Love Productions, who make the show, are doing their utmost to make sure it gets on air without any risk.”
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